Cast Out and Set Adrift Upon a Sea of Unremitting Misery and Uncertainty by the Disgracefully Ailurophobic Royal Mail, The Cat at Long Last, Hopefully, Has Found a Safe Harbor
"The area manager came in and said 'The Cat has to go for health and safety reasons.' We are all angry and upset. It is health and safety gone mad. The Cat does not do anything wrong."
-- an unidentified employee of the Royal Mail
For five years a now eight-year-old black tom known simply as The Cat called the Royal Mail's sorting facility on Birmingham Road in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, home. Fed and doted on by the letter carriers, The Cat would show up promptly at 3:30 a.m. each day when the facility opened and he usually was the last one to leave when the doors were locked at night.
He often could be found lounging around on a billiards' table in an upstairs rest and recreation room specifically set aside for the employees. As far as it is known, he always was more than welcome at the facility and never created any problems.
The good times came to a screeching halt in early April, however, when Neil Armstrong was appointed as the Royal Mail's new area manager. Determined from the outset to demonstrate to one and all that he is indisputably the biggest ball-breaker and all-around rotter in the company's one-hundred-fifty-thousand-man workforce, he immediately looked around for a victim to sock it to and, predictably, settled upon The Cat.
Being not only ruthlessly ambitious but Machiavellian as well, he was far too devious to ever come right out and admit that he either hates cats or simply abuses them in order to further his career. Instead, he amateurishly attempted to rationalize his ailurophobia by dredging up some nonsense about health and safety.
He then repaired to the shadows and left it to his unidentified spokesman to put a humane face upon his dastardly deed. "Although this stray cat has become a regular visitor to the good-natured postmen and women in our sorting office, we will be speaking to a local animal welfare charity to find a suitable permanent loving home for the stray," the mouthpiece pledged to the Daily Mail on April 19th. (See "What Would Postman Pat Say? Royal Mail to Evict Beloved Pet Cat from Sorting Office after Five Years under Health and Safety Rules.")
The reaction from The Cat's caretakers was equally predictable, prompt, and spirited. "The area manager came in and said 'The Cat has to go for health and safety reason.' We are all angry and upset. It is health and safety gone mad. The Cat does not do anything wrong," one unidentified postal worker told the Daily Mail. "Everyone has a bond with The Cat. He is part of the team and the furniture (and) he had done five years' service. He is ours. He gets lots of fuss and cuddles and has even got its (sic) own ball and stash of food."
"We can't see the reason why he has to go because he doesn't harm anyone. It's pathetic," an unidentified thirteen-year veteran of the Royal Mail added to the Daily Mail. "It is a pointless exercise. Why are they trying to do it?"
A third letter carrier decried the injustice associated with The Cat's eviction. "He has been here longer than most of the managers so how can they possibly demand its (sic) eviction? He does not get in anyone's way or cause problems; it (sic) just sits around...," the worker told the Daily Mail. " We are in (an) uproar. It is our cat. It is ludicrous."
|The Cat Supervising a Postal Worker|
The postal employees supposedly established a "Save Our Cat" page on Facebook that attracted nearly one-thousand followers during its first week of operation but it has not been possible to locate that exact page on the web. Instead, there is a page entitled "Spotted: Stratford-upon-Avon" that is devoted to The Cat but it has not been updated since early April. The same holds true for the "Save the Stratford Cat" postings on Twitter.
Residents of the small town of twenty-five-thousand souls, located on the Avon River thirty-five kilometers southeast of Birmingham, rallied to The Cat's defense by dropping off food for him at the post office. They also were not the least bit hesitant to voice their disapproval of Armstrong's outrageous edict.
"What a shame that H/S are getting rid of this cat," Kado Crocker exclaimed to the Daily Mail. "Don't they know he could keep vermin down? Also its (sic) beneficial too (sic) workers so they work better and more relaxed."
Not only that but The Cat even helped postwoman San Smith to get hired. "He was with me through (sic) my interview, in the chair beside me," she is quoted by the Daily Mail as declaring. "Please save The Cat."
Regrettably, the combined efforts of both the posties and local residents alike proved to be too impotent to either soften Armstrong's cold, hard heart or to even check his runaway ambition. Even more reprehensible, it did not take long for the workers themselves to cave in and thus throw The Cat underneath the bus.
"He's staying with us for the moment," an unidentified employee of the facility told the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald on April 25th. (See "Royal Mail No Longer Evicting Cat and Are Now Paying for Vet Fees.") "But he's actually a lot poorlier that (sic) we thought he was so in the long term we have all agreed that it is best for his health if he finds a proper home."
That sellout was arrived at after management and staffers alike chipped in to have The Cat examined by a veterinarian on April 23rd at Pets at Home inside the Maybird Shopping Park on Birmingham Road. He consequently was diagnosed to be suffering from an oral infection of some sort and was scheduled to have had a couple teeth extracted a fortnight later.
What followed is a bit difficult to piece together but as best as it could be determined The Cat originally was deemed to be too ill in order to be put up for adoption. He therefore was scheduled to have been turned over to KumfyCats in Blackwater, Hamphire.
"He's not going to be up for homing," the charity's Gil Matthews told the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald on April 30th. (See "Royal Mail Cat Being Taken to Sanctuary in Surrey.") "Instead, he's coming to our sanctuary. I have four other cats here who for one reason or another are not able to be rehomed. So many people asked us if they could have him."
That last statement certainly was true enough. "It's crazy. We've had people from Canada, Australia, Mexico and Spain all offering to take him in," an unidentified worker at the sorting facility told the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald in the April 25th article cited supra.
For unexplained reasons, The Cat did not wind up at Matthews' sanctuary but instead was handed over to Happy Cats Rescue in the village of Whitehill in Borden, Hampshire. Now reportedly known as Stamp, he since has been rehomed and, according to the charity's Jo Lucas, is said to be "fit."
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to find out any additional information about either him, his whereabouts, or health. It accordingly can only be hoped that he is still alive, in good health, and reasonably contented in his new home.
There cannot be any denying, however, that he has been put through an exceedingly rough patch of late. First of all, he was cruelly and unjustly uprooted from his home turf and caretakers.
He next was caged and bandied about from one strange environment to another like a latter-day Flying Dutchman. Along the way he was anesthetized, poked, probed, and cut open by, in all likelihood, multiple veterinarians.
He also no doubt misses the hustle and bustle associated with being at the sorting facility as well as the special attention that the postal workers lavished on him. His world has been turned upside down and adjusting to a new home and lifestyle at his age certainly must be difficult.
The proper care of a cat, after all, involves considerably more than merely providing it with food and shelter. Despite that petit fait, rescue groups and TNR practitioners behave as if cats are nothing more than soulless, unfeeling creatures.
|Tiddy's Murderer, Alan Vincent|
They are far from being alone in thinking and behaving in such a callous and utterly idiotic manner in that even the most devoted ailurophiles are egregiously guilty of committing the same offense. It is unfortunate fact of life but in a world that continually turns a blind eye to the liquidation of tens of millions of cats each year by shelters, Animal Control officers, ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and others, all resources must by necessity be allocated toward saving lives and that leaves precious little left over for anything else.
Despite how traumatic the last eight months have been for The Cat, there can be no denying that living at the post office in Stratford-upon-Avon was far from being an ideal arrangement. If the truth dare to be told, his caretakers actually did very little for him and consequently he might very well be better off in his new home.
That is because in spite of their declarations of love and support, the employees took much more from him in the form of companionship, nonjudgmental friendship, and amusement than they ever gave back to him. Most obviously, they did absolutely nothing in order to protect him once he left the grounds of the facility.
In particular, he easily could have been deliberately run down and killed by a motorist. (See Cat Defender posts of November 21, 2012 and January 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Officials at Plymouth College of Art Should Be Charged with Gross Negligence and Animal Cruelty in the Tragic Death of the School's Longtime Resident Feline, PCAT" and "Casper Is Run Down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Taxi Driver while Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop.")
He also could have been mauled to death by a dog. (See Cat Defender posts of October 28, 2013 and March 24, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Slow to Recuperate from Life-Threatening Injuries Sustained in a Savage Mauling by an Unleashed Dog, Stubbs Announces His Intention to Step Down as Mayor of Talkeetna" and "Seven-Month-Old Bailey Is Fed to a Lurcher by a Group of Sadistic Teens in Search of Cheap Thrills in Northern Ireland.")
Every bit as appalling, the posties were so uncaring, irresponsible, cheap, and selfish that they failed to provide him with any type of shelter whatsoever. He therefore was left to wander the mean and forbidding streets of Stratford-upon-Avon like a threadbare vagabond not only nights but also on days whenever the sorting facility was closed. He accordingly was forced to tough it out all by his lonesome in the cold, snow, rain, and whatever else that Mother Nature chose to indiscriminately dole out to him.
Thirdly, there is not anything in the public record that even remotely suggests that the workers ever procured any type of veterinary care for him. Plus, even once his mouth infection was discovered they were so coldhearted and abysmally cheap that management was forced to pay the lion's share of The Cat's veterinary bill.
Fourthly, the employees never seriously attempted to secure a permanent home for him. Rather, they contented themselves in wishfully believing that he lived with an unidentified woman on nearby Park Road.
|Amy Hartridge, her cat Minny, Tallulah, and Stephen Douglas|
"We gave him a collar, but it was taken off," one postal worker told the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald on April 17th. (See "Postmen's Cat Faces Eviction Because of 'Health and Safety' Rules.")
Another worker even had the audacity to blame The Cat for being homeless. "We tried to find a home for him but he has never wanted to go home," the employee averred to the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald in the same article.
Besides all of those unforgivable omissions, several postal workers have made scurrilous comments about him. For example, Kerry Bambridge even went so far as to propose using typing correction fluid on his fur. "If it makes a difference ill (sic) get the tipex (Tipp-Ex®) out so he's white too and call him Jess," Bambridge told the Daily Mail in an obscure reference to Postman Pat's famous cat.
On the Facebook page entitled "Spotted: Stratford-Upon-Avon," Bambridge was even more derogatory. "I'm more worried about losing the pool table," the worker wrote in reference to Armstrong's edict that it, too, be removed. "Well if he (The Cat) actually made himself useful and prepped a few rounds he'd be staying and bonzo would be gone lo."
Those and other postings on social media web sites paint an altogether different picture of the employees' attitude toward The Cat than the one presented in the press. All of their hypocrisies and shortcomings are small potatoes, however, when compared to their totally inexcusable failure to even provide him with a proper name.
Without a proper name a cat remains primarily an abstract object. As such it can be neglected, exploited, denigrated, and finally abandoned without so much as a twinge of remorse.
Above all, such an outrageous slight forecloses the establishment of any permanent, inseverable moral and personal bonds. That is a mistake that T.S. Eliot never would have made.
|Blackie and Ann Hogben|
In his celebrated 1939 poem, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," he wrote:
"The naming of cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have three different names.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey --
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular.
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum --
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover --
But the cat himself knows, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular name."
Although it cannot be asserted with any authority, it nevertheless is remotely conceivable that it was none other than Mark Twain that Eliot had in mind when he issued his admonition against turning the naming of cats into a "holiday game." That is because in an April 2, 1890 letter to the editor of a magazine entitled Echoes, the illustrious American writer and humorist confessed to committing the following misdeed:
There is nothing of continental or inter-national (sic) interest to communicate about those cats.
They had no history; they did not distinguish themselves in any way.
They died early -- on account of being overweighted with their names, it was thought. Sour Mash, Appollinaris, Zoroaster, and Blatherskite -- names given them not in an unfriendly spirit, but merely to practice the children in large and difficult styles of pronunciation.
It was a very happy idea. I mean, for the children."
In addition to providing a cat with an appropriate name, it is imperative that it be properly addressed on all occasions and on this weighty matter Eliot was careful to add:
"I say, you should ad-dress a cat.
But always keep in mind that he
I bow, and taking off my hat,
Ad-dress him in this form: O Cat!"
Plus, as Eliot understood so well, considerably more than kibble and tuna are required in order to win the affection of a cat:
"Before a cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some Caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste --
He's sure to have his personal taste...
A cat's entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his name."
|Beezley and Terry Grinter|
Although the posties did furnish The Cat with some level of nourishment, there is nothing to suggest that they went out of their way in order to provide him with any delicacies. It therefore perhaps would not be incorrect to describe their overall attitude toward him as having been one of benign neglect.
The sorting facility's mistreatment of The Cat is by no means the first time that the Royal Mail has been guilty of abusing a cat during it four-hundred-ninety-seven years of existence. For instance, on March 11, 2011 letter carrier Alan Vincent brutally murdered a fourteen-year-old tortoiseshell named Tiddy from Windsor in Berkshire after she playfully jumped into his mail trolley.
Instead of gently removing her as any halfway normal individual would have done, he instead went ballistic and repeatedly hit her over the head with the lid to his trolley. He then nonchalantly tossed her over an eight-foot garden fence and attempted to go on about his rounds just as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
In all likelihood he would have gotten away scot-free with his foul deed if the horrific attack had not been witnessed by seventy-two-year-old Laura Lucardini and June Dye-Hodge Beardsley. When confronted by the compassionate and publicly-spirited women Vincent responded by telling them in no uncertain terms to "fuck off."
Not about to be intimidated, especially by his kind, Beardsley notified the authorities and the Royal Mail even dispatched Vincent's supervisor to the crime crime in order to join the search for Tiddy. It was her thirty-four-year-old owner, nursery worker Ami Hartridge, however who ultimately found her.
She rushed Tiddy to a nearby veterinarian but, tragically, she died only hours later from massive internal injuries. Vincent, a nine-year veteran of the Royal Mail, subsequently not only was arrested but fired as well.
"I saw the postman bashing the lid down and I realized he was smashing it on the cat who was meowing loudly, screeching," Lucardini later testified at his trial in Reading Magistrates' Court on March 7, 2012 according to an account of the proceedings rendered in the Daily Mail on March 8th of that year. (See "Postman Jailed for Smashing Cat's Head with Mail Trolley Lid and Throwing Her into Garden to Die after She Jumped in During His Round.")
Totally incorrigible, Vincent maintained his innocence to the bitter end by telling the court that he had shooed away Tiddy unhurt. "I tried to lift it (sic) out, but it (sic) clung to the inside," he told the court according to the Daily Mail.
|Charlie and Nick Lock|
He ultimately was done in by a 999 recording where he plainly can be overheard cursing out both Lucardini and Beardsley. "We don't believe your version of events," presiding judge Ian Bacon told him. "Tiddy died in a great deal of suffering and pain, a horrible death. You have offered no remorse whatsoever. None."
Alan Ramsey of the RSPCA, who investigated and charged Vincent, wholeheartedly concurred. "I can think of no mitigation or excuse for what I believe was a vicious, deliberate if not premeditated attack on this defenseless cat," he is quoted as saying in an undated press release posted online by his employer. (See "Prison Sentence for Postman Who Smashed Cat's Head with Mail Trolley.")
Bacon then sentenced the thirty-eight-year-old resident from Feltham in the London borough of Hounslow to six months in jail. He additionally banned him from owning any animals for ten years.
Although at trial Vincent maintained that he not only loved cats but owned two of them himself, those in question likely belonged to his unidentified partner. The fact that she walked out on him shortly after she learned of what he had done to Tiddy lends considerable credibility to that assumption.
Moreover, merely being willing to tolerate the presence of cats that belong to either a spouse or a girlfriend does not magically transform a cat-hater into a fan of the species. On the contrary, this world is chock-full of men like Vincent and women who love and care about cats need to be on the lookout for them.
As for Bacon, he erred grievously in handing down such a ridiculously lenient sentence for such a despicable crime. In doing so, he once again showcased the courts' ingrained prejudice against cats and, for that matter, all animals in general.
According to his understanding of the law, not only is human life infinitely superior to feline life but the latter has almost no intrinsic value at all. On both counts he is dead wrong and individuals imbued with not only a highly developed sense of justice but, equally important, a true understanding of the value of things realize that animal life should be prized more highly than human.
|The Immortal Jess and Postman Pat|
That is because, first of all, animals are hardly capable of protecting themselves against the evil designs of a monster as ruthless and bloodthirsty as man. Protecting cats and other animals therefore is a solemn duty, just like the safeguarding of minors, the infirm, the elderly, and Mother Nature.
Second of all, cats and other animals are totally incapable of ever committing the types of dastardly crimes that man never ceases to perpetuate against his fellows, the animals, and Mother Earth. Thirdly, cats simply are better, nobler, and far more beautiful citizens of this planet than man ever will be even if one day out of the blue he should decide for once to take self-improvement halfway seriously.
About the only positive thing to be said about the slap-on-the-wrists that Bacon meted out to Vincent is that the half a year in jail that he gave him is exactly six months more than most convicted cat killers ever receive from any jurist. (See Cat Defender posts of March 22, 2012 and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "In Another Outrageous Miscarriage of Justice, Rogue Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Is Let Off with a $50 Fine for Savagely Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat" and "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer.")
In spite of all of that, Bacon's ruling was sufficient in order to satisfy Hartridge's fifty-year-old common law husband, Stephen Hughes. "Justice has been done, but it won't bring Tiddy back," he told the Daily Mail in the March 8th article cited supra.
He was concerned, however, about the adverse effect that Tiddy's murder was destined to have on his two-year-old daughter. "Tallulah loved Tiddy and used to sit on the sofa with her. She was absolutely devastated when she found out she had died," he confided to the Daily Mail. "What this man did to our cat was cruel and disgusting. I hope he has time to think about what he did as he sits in his prison cell."
Vincent no doubt mulled over the matter but it is highly unlikely that he ever has experienced so much as a split second of remorse about killing Tiddy. The only thing that devils like him ever regret is getting caught.
"We do not tolerate cruelty to animals," a spokesman for the Royal Mail told the Mirror on March 9, 2012. (See "Postman Cat-Killer: Foul-Mouthed Postie Jailed over 'Horrible' Attack on Pet.")
Whereas there is undeniably a world of difference between what Vincent did to Tiddy and how miserably both management and staff in Stratford-upon-Avon mistreated The Cat, parallels nevertheless can be found in both cases. To put the matter succinctly, the flagrant neglect and designation of The Cat as a persona non grata in Stratford-upon-Avon are clearly recognizable as the starting points on a continuum that all too often leads to the killing of cats like Tiddy in Windsor and elsewhere.
Cruelty to cats is a cancer that is slowly eating away at the very fabric of the Royal Mail as well as undermining its credibility with the public. It therefore drastically needs to radically change its attitude and to put in place policies that respect and treasure cats. It never could get away with murdering, abusing, and slandering members of the general public and the case can be stated with even greater force in respect to how it should be treating cats.
Even Bacon clearly recognized the need for the Royal Mail to do a far better job of both training its employees to respect animals and of weeding out cat-haters from its ranks. "You were a postal worker with special responsibility in respect of animals," he lectured Vincent according the RSPCA press release cited supra. "We believe you would have had training about dealing with animals which you disregarded."
Some of the run-ins that the Royal Mail's letter carriers have had with cats over the years can only be described as imbecilic, that is, if they actually occurred in the first place. For example, in Ramsgate, Kent, they have accused Ann Hogben's cat, Blackie, of attacking them as they shoved missives through a letter box.
As most individuals with bon sens realize, cats like to chase moving objects and any letter carrier incapable of shoving an envelope through a box without getting scratched is in the wrong line of work. Rather than fighting, however, Hogben caved in to the demands of the Royal Mail and solved the problem by banning Blackie from coming near her front door. (See Cat Defender post of March 8, 2007 entitled "Blackie the Cat Has Postmen, Bobbies, and Deliverymen Looking Over Their Shoulders in Ramsgate, Kent.")
It would be grossly unfair, however, to judge the Royal Mail solely on the abhorrent behavior of Vincent and its employees in Statford-upon-Avon. Au contraire, some of its workers not only love cats but go out of their way in order to be kind to them.
For instance, Terry Grinter allows Beezley to ride along with him on his bicycle as he delivers the mail in Lyme Regis in Dorset. (See Cat Defender post of October 13, 2008 entitled "Life Imitates Art as a Small Town in Dorset Acquires Its Very Own Version of Postman Pat and Jess in the Form of Terry and Beezley.")
Likewise in Woolavington, Somerset, a black cat named Charlie makes the rounds inside Nick Lock's mailbag. (See BBC, January 29, 2010, "Cat Helps Deliver Town's Letters.")
|Kim Pinkham |
Despite the exemplary conduct of Grinter, Lock, and others, there can be no denying that the Royal Mail as a whole falls way short in its treatment of cats when compared with that which Pat Clifton exhibits toward his beloved tuxedo, Jess. Between 1981 and 2008, the duo delighted viewers of the BBC as they made their rounds throughout the fictional town of Greendale and although the show is no longer on the air Jess and Pat are destined to live on in the hearts and minds of viewers for a very long time.
While it goes without saying that imagination trumps reality on almost any given day, Postman Pat nevertheless had established a standard as to how the Royal Mail should be treating cats and, like it or not, it is by that yardstick that the company's performance is going to be measured. The Daily Mail therefore was totally justified in calling attention to the stark juxtaposition between the Royal Mail's mistreatment of The Cat and the ideals exemplified by the noble and caring Postman Pat.
Like the Royal Mail, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a study in contrasts in respect to how it treats cats. At one end of the spectrum is its facility in Notasulga, Alabama, which in January of 2009 evicted its longtime resident feline, Sammy.
For more than ten years he had welcomed and charmed patrons of the tiny post office but all of that ended when a rabid ailurophobe raised a stink about his presence. Lacking the intestinal fortitude to battle so much as a mosquito, the USPS caved in and banned Sammy from its portals. (See Cat Defender post of February 11, 2009 entitled "U.S. Postal Service Knuckles Under to the Threats and Lies of a Cat-Hater and Gives Sammy the Boot.")
Thankfully, however, the perennially cash-strapped, quasi-independent federal agency is not comprised entirely of officious bureaucrats, bean counters, and crazed killers. For example, in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, letter carrier Kim Pinkham does not hesitate to rescue cats and dogs in distress that she comes across on her route.
In particular, she once shelled out $2,000 from her own pocket in order to pay for a Cesarean section for a homeless cat named Bailey whose rear legs were paralyzed. "I'm not a policeman (sic)," she told the La Crosse Tribune on January 19, 2009. (See "Postal Carrier Helps Out Cats, Dogs Seen During Route.") "It's not my authority, but it is my business."
Although it is unlikely that Pinkham ever has so much as heard of Postman Pat, it is precisely she who most closely exemplifies the ideals that he represents. It is a pity that management at both the Royal Mail and the USPS not only remain impervious to those standards but, quite often, are downright hostile to them.
Photos: Daily Mail (The Cat, Tiddy, Vincent, Hartridge, Blackie, and Beezley), BBC (Charlie and Jess), The Tuskegee News (Sammy), and Peter Thomson of the La Crosse Tribune (Pinkham).